Like most people, you likely face a growing set of expectations at work, at home, and in your free time. Meeting the demands of modern life can create a high level of stress. How can you find peace in a world where you don’t know what will happen next? That makes it more important than ever to add meditation to your daily routine.

Meditation can help prevent stress while strengthening your capacity to think and solve problems. But, how can you implement an effective meditation regimen in your daily life? Beginning a meditation journal is a wise place to start. Here are five key reasons to do so.

Remain Consistent in Your Meditation Practice

Keeping a meditation journal can ensure you remain consistent in your meditation practice. Start by using your meditation journal to write down a meditation schedule. For example, if you wish to meditate for 15 minutes each morning and evening, note that in your journal. Alternatively, you might decide to divide your journal into weeks. With this approach, you can decide at the beginning of each week the length and type of meditation you’ll do based on your improvement and skill level.

Moreover, journaling about your meditation sessions will emotionally connect you to the practice and help remind you to practice in the first place.

Track Your Meditation Progress

So what exactly should you write about your meditation practice? Tracking your progress should become an important focus of your meditation journal.

Write about how easy or difficult each meditation session felt. Consider creating a rating scale in which a rating of “1” would indicate a very chatty mind while a rating of “10” would mark a peaceful mind throughout the duration of the practice. In addition, take a few minutes at the end of each practice for some freewriting so you can describe how you felt and how you can do better.

Over time, journaling about your meditation practice will reveal your improvements as well as insights on how you can continue to enhance your practice moving forward.

Record Your Thoughts During Meditation

While small freewriting sessions can provide an effective way to track your progress, you also may want to write more detailed accounts of what pops up in your mind as you meditate.

During meditation, your mind can grow overactive and disturbed. While you sit in silence, your thoughts may feel turbulent and protective even though you actually don’t need protection.

Journaling about your thoughts will help you understand what’s at the root of your mental turbulence. If stressful thoughts arise about your job or bank account, for example, perhaps you have some hidden trauma surrounding money. Journaling about this can help you uncover and explore these issues further.

Using Your Journal to Limit Distractions

The human mind also can trigger distractions when people meditate. For example, people often suddenly start to remember important tasks as they meditate. This can then lead to worry about forgetting those items again later.

It’s okay to pause a meditation in order to jot down a few reminders. Writing them down will allow you to return to your meditation with a greater sense of ease so you can forget about everything for the time being and just focus on the moment.

Practice Writing as Another Form of Meditation

Writing itself is a sort of meditation — especially freewriting. Whether you choose mindfulness, pranayama, transcendental, or Kriya meditation, try to include a freewriting protocol in your journal.

Unlike writing about how your meditations went, this involves writing as a form of meditation. Reserve a section of your journal as a place in which you write everything that’s on your mind. Here are three tips for practicing this form of writing:

  • Let Your Freewriting be Free. When you write in your journal, allow yourself to capture your unedited stream of consciousness. This meditative form of writing will enable you to unravel what’s lingering in your unconscious mind — and learn a lot about yourself in the process.
  • Write First Thing in the Morning. Writing when you’re still drowsy allows you to access your unconscious mind even more. This will help make your journal entries more effective and revealing.
  • Write When Something Upsets You. Writing is a good outlet for anger and sadness. Not only will it make you feel better, but it also will help you to better understand why you become upset in the first place.

How to Start Your Meditation Journal

Beginning a meditation journal is easy with the right motivation and inspiration. Follow these tips to kick-start an effective journaling practice:

  • Buy a Journal You Like. Choose wisely between cover designs, interior formatting, lined or unlined pages, and size.
  • Customize the Inside of Your Journal. If your journal contains lined paper, for example, create sections at the beginning of each week for freewriting, progress updates, inspirational thoughts, and reminders.
  • Use Your Journal Consistently for Maximum Results. Keep your journal at your bedside, place it by your meditation cushion, and carry it with you wherever you go. Using it often will improve your meditation practice notably. Ultimately, improving your meditation practice can help reduce stress while preparing you for the demands of the modern world.

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